Les Miles is Likable Due to the Art of the Scribe
One of the tests of a good writer is to compel you to sympathize with an unlikable character.
That was the genius of Anthony Burgess in his incredible novel A Clockwork Orange. The novel’s ‘anti-hero’, a thug named Alex, was thoroughly despicable. He and his ‘droogs’ would pal around, drink drug coctails, and go on a rampage, implementing their ‘ultra-violence’ indiscriminantly on innocent victims.
In the first 30 minutes of Stanley Kubrick’s film version, Alex and his deeds were so horrible, it was difficult to watch. But you had to, because Burgess/Kubrick were going to make you sympathize with him, and yes, even like him.
After undergoing the state-sponsored behavior modification method called the Ludovico Technique, quite nightmarish in itself, Alex is changed so drastically that he becomes defenseless to a variety of external stimuli. The reader/viewer is left totally sympathetic to the character.
Enter Les Miles, head coach of the LSU Tigers who are invading the Lion’s Den that is Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday to defend their number one ranking against the host Crimson Tide.
Practically all fans of all SEC schools not named LSU have, at one time or another, mocked, ridiculed, or simply disregarded Coach Miles as, at the very least, an average coach at best. If it’s not his famous eposides of bad clock management, it’s his personna that can come across as arrogant, flippant, or downright kooky-stupid.
ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson has written a feature article called The Les You Know: LSU Coach Les Miles Juggles Family and Football in the Shadow of the Alabama Showdown.
First of all, it is first-class sports feature writing. Secondly, Mr. Thompson has pulled a Burgess/Kubrick. If you are even the most ardent hater of the Tigers and their head coach, there is no way on this green earth that you can’t come away from this article as an admirer of Coach Miles.
You might even come to like The Mad Hatter.
For the first time, I really do. A lot.